I told you all that I would spend a little while aiming my ire leftward, helping prove that my "Modernism and its enemies" riff is not just a liberal rant in disguise. True, I feel our civilization is under desperate danger at present from one particular direction. But let me maintain momentum and shine light on the other locus of romantic anti modernism, for a little longer.
I want to talk about the silly obsession of many leftists toward the word "globalization". A three-parter.
A few years ago I gave a dinner speech for the World Federalist Society (led by former independent Presidential candidate John Anderson). And before you call me a sappy "one-worlder" let me add that I also gave a keynote at a national convention of the Libertarian Party! (see: Orcs, Essences and Civilization: The Case for a Cheerful Libertarianism) So go ahead, try to cram my politics into a category!
At the WFS gathering, I pointed out a few factors they really ought to note, before pushing for new styles of international governance.
1. Antipathy toward increasing world structure or 'government' has different sources, depending on where you look.
Dictators and oligarchs see it as a threat to their local power.
Small nations see it as a vehicle for hegemony by the US et. al.
Major corporations see it as likely to become yet another taxing authority.
Western political classes see it as arising out of the UN, and thus becoming an impotent talking society in which action becomes impossible and 3rd world perceptions dominate.
Americans almost instinctively perceive it as a potentially dangerous accumulation of centralized power.
The thing I most often focus on is the last of these. (Citizen empowerment is my fetish. See:
Indeed, my own son, at age six, expressed a deep worry about even the notion of a World Government, since "There wouldn't be anywhere else to run away to, if it turned bad." (Clever boy!)
I think it's very important to peer closely at the average voters and citizens in the West - especially the US - since they will ultimately decide whether this issue becomes a front-burner item. In dozens of talks and speeches, I have found that most people I meet express a set of shared values -- whether republican or democrat etc -- a vast majority of them declaring high fealty to:
(a) suspicion of authority
(d) tolerance (well, mostly).
Their principal difference is nearly always WHICH real or potential center of authority they worry about. But when it comes to this particular topic, nearly all deeply worry about internationalization of authority.
The left worries about this internationalization of power falling into the hands of their particular bogeymen: imperialists, aristocrats and faceless-rapacious corporations. The right worries about socialists and UN bureaucrats and snotty "consensus scientific" or academic elites.
And yet, can you honestly try top project your mind a thousand years into the future and not picture some kind of government that spans the globe and/or Solar System, at least at some level? Okay then, how about 500 years from now? 200? Can you honestly say our present status quo will survive all consolidating pressures, in the face of crisis after crisis, even for another few decades?
Elsewhere I talk about Whatever Comes Next ... or WCN. An acronym chosen deliberately to avoid hot button words like "world government". Surely SOMETHING will come next, eh?
Or will Pax Americana last forever, as our mad neocons contend?
(Hint: their behavior is actively shortening Pax Americana's reign. Indeed, that is a chief complaint against these bright fools. At present I see no possible WCN on the immediate horizon that can claim to be better than PA has been, for 60 years of relative peace and growth. But the neocons will end it all, the way Alcibiades helped end the reign of flawed-but-noble Athens.)
In any event, I have only touched upon a HUGE topic, pointing out that the left and right each have reasons to loathe and prevent discussion and planning and argument aimed at examining the process, and ensuring that it will be done WELL.
What are the attributes that we should be aiming for, in world law? And which should be avoided?
Here's a scary thing. The one thing that both left and right never discuss is giving the individual standing before international legal bodies. The right wants corporations protected. The left wants NGOs to be empowered to protect the helpless. Nobody is talking about letting you and me stand up for ourselves! Letting individuals rambunctiously take center stage and have our day in court... even though that's what worked best, in the nation states of the 20th century.
...more on this soon...